Have you ever found yourself stuck in a rut, seemingly unable to change a habit or a feeling? Have you heard the quote, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” and thought, “What does that mean for me?”
One way to creatively approach any stubborn situation is to Reverse It – do it backwards, upside down, or from an opposite point of view. The Reverse It technique pulls you out of the fog of Habit and helps you notice or shift things that were not possible when you were following your usual process.
I use the Reverse It technique in many areas of my life. For instance, when I find myself getting bored with my fitness routines, I can change up simply by starting at the end. When I walk, I nearly always turn left out of my driveway, but when I turn right instead I have a totally different walking experience.
What are some ways you might Reverse It to shake up a part of your life that you want to change?
- Instead of trying to take a deep breath to calm down in the middle of a tough conversation, try taking a minute BEFORE the conversation to calm and center you.
- If getting to the gym is not working for you on your current schedule, flip your visit to the other end of your day and see if shifts your motivation and/or energy.
- Start a few conversations by stating what YOU want instead of first dancing around and trying to figure out what the other person wants.
- Park at the back of the lot instead of the front, and use the extra minute of walking to let your body warm up.
- Come in to a building via a different entrance and notice how things look from a different perspective. For example, enter your workplace via the customer/patient entrance vs. the employee entrance. Or use the front door vs. the side door of your church/temple and notice the new view.
- If you’re rushed in the morning, but then spend an hour glazed over in front of the TV at night, try reversing that hour of your day – move up your bedtime and “flip” an extra 30 minutes into your morning.
- Instead of waiting for someone to recognize or appreciate you, reverse the conversation and take time every day to offer a compliment or gratitude to someone else.
When you change the way you approach a situation, you create new points of view that can lead to different outcomes and different emotions.
An Action Step
Back to that quote: stop the insanity of repeating old, ineffective behavior!
Pick an aspect of your life or work that is “not working” for you right now. Step back and ask, “In what way(s) might I Reverse this to create a different motivation, reaction, or perspective for myself?” Then put that opposite into practice a few times and notice what you learn from the experience. If your outcomes change, then you have a winner!